From the Archives

Venous Access Port ( VAP)

After an estimated 104 hospital admissions for asthma and probably 10 times that number of IV sticks, I have no peripheral venous access left. A half a century of IV steroids has rendered my veins useless. The only place they can get lines in, are in my knuckles and toes. ...

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Do you know when it's time to go in?

The idea for this post came to me during the middle a recent severe exacerbation. Actually, it was the same exacerbation that put me in the hospital for 12 days, for which I am still recovering. Foremost on my mind during one of these really bad flares is the ...

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The Recovery phases of a severe asthma exacerbation

Suffice it to say, I wasn't exactly a happy camper when I wrote that Dr W helped me get through this awful time by reassuring me that what anguish I was experiencing was a normal response after suffering such a severe flare up, and that my complaints were ...

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15 months Intubation Free!

It feels good to brag about something positive for a change. This week marks 15 whole months since Ive had to have a tube shoved down my windpipe in order to breath. Ive had zero, what I would call "critical condition" type hospitalizations in that time period as well. Granted, ...

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Double Whammy Asthma

( updated 2-2014) I often find it frustrating that here I am, a life long asthmatic, a Respiratory therapist and an asthma educator, yet still unable in normal conversation, to describe what makes my type of asthma so different from others. When asked to define asthma in general, I usually ...

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I'm a recovering Albuter-holic

Rick, the author of the Respiratory Therapy Cave , wrote to me the other day talking about what it was like growing up with severe asthma. One of the things he mentioned that I thought was kinda funny, was how he used to sleep with an inhaler ...

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Propofol

Propofol

This is a picture of me on a ventilator last year during a severe asthma exacerbation ( what they call status asthmaticus). See the little IV bottle inside the blue rectangle with the milky looking stuff inside ? That's Propofol ! Also known as ...

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My Trip to Churchill

My journey begins in Winnipeg (my very first time crossing the Canadian border). Just 2 days earlier there had been a pretty bad snow storm and potential weather delays at the airport were a big concern.Fortunately things worked out and I got there on time without any problems. ...

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Lung Lingo

Yes it's true, we asthmatics have a language all our own.   Here's my current list. Please feel free to add new words and definitions to it .   Yellow Zoning When someone is stuck in their yellow breathing zone. Cradle Asthmatic A person who has had asthma since earlier childhood or ...

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Healing Walks

Carolyn Scott Kortge's new book is finally out and guess who's in one of the chapters? Carolyn contacted me about year ago for this project. She thought I had an interesting story to tell, and that it would fit in nicely with the motivational theme of the book. It's really ...

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Asthma guilt trip

How many times have you had a really bad asthma flare, but had serious trepidations about going to the emergency room for treatment? How many times have you felt guilty that maybe you weren't sick enough to be admitted to the hospital? Well, that's pretty much been the ...

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A quarter million puffs

A quarter million puffs

Care for some Albuterol? (Hey.....how did the primatine mist get in there?) I sometimes jokingly claim that Ive

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The SARP experience

The SARP experience

Welcome to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the

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Lung Transplant Evaluation Approved.

It's been way too long since I posted to my blog. Been doing most of my updating via my asthma support group on Facebook. So anyways, after 6 months of going around and around with the insurance company, they have finally agreed to pay for a full lung transplant evaluation. ...

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Boston 2011 Race Report

They don't call it the best marathon in the world for nothing , and this year was no exception. The weather was near perfect and the spectators and volunteers outdid themselves. The moment I entered athletes village and the disabled athletes staging area early Monday morning, my worries and stress about ...

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I'm Honored

Just found out that my story is appearing in the RCB's annual Newsletter.... "Breathing Matters". I'm always flattered when an organization or a person writes an article about my fitness walking achievements, but this one is special because it comes from the same government agency that regulates Respiratory Care in the ...

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Buried Alive

The photo is from the movie "Awake", but what happened to me last September was not fiction.. It was the real deal! Back on Sept 20th of 2010, I was admitted to the hospital for a severe asthma exacerbation(so what else is new). About 8 hours into the exacerbation, my ...

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Bassist extraordinaire

Bassist Extraordinaire.... Rick Shaw

A couple of Saturdays ago I had the pleasure of meeting one of my favorite bassists of all time, Rick Shaw. Rick has worked with all kinds of recording artists and is also the bassist for Johnny Mathis and Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band, my favorite jazz band. ...

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Questions for Dr. Wenzel

Last week after finding out just how damaged my lungs really are, the only thing going through my head was..WHY? All of the assumptions I had made about my asthma throughout the years, suddenly didn't seem to make sense anymore. I was beginning to wonder if ...

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kerri vid
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24 Hours in the life of an Asthmatic

Check out Kerri’s vlog post and follow us through a typical day living with asthma. Related Posts:Asthma Phenotypes Guest Post by Kerri 12 month Update The letterBehind that finish line smile Bound for Beantown#97 , misinformation and a virus from Hell

May 31, 2013 1
Sally Interview
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Dupilumab , A Game Changer ?

When I heard the news today that there’s a new drug in the pipeline for severe asthma, I about fell out of my chair. When you hear one of the world’s most respected asthma researchers proclaiming that this new drug is a “game changer”, you can’t help but feel a little more optimistic about the […]

May 23, 2013 3
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How to run like a severe asthmatic, by Bill Swan

Saw this blog post by Bill Swan and liked it so much I just had to re-post it here. Bill provides us with a step by step instruction guide on how to run like a severe asthmatic. ( I think the photo says it all, don’t you?) Read more about Bill on his blog at […]

May 14, 2013 1
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Plan B

Yesterday I completed my final “test” walk in a series of trial walks that started a month ago to see if training for a future marathon might be doable. The plan was to do the Portland marathon this October ( my 3rd time) and then hopefully obtain a qualifying time to enter Boston in 2014 […]

May 6, 2013 0
Bubble house
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Just call me Bubble Boy.

Exposure to this …… And this…. Is there anything Im not allergic too? I think I need to live in one of these… So two hospitalization in just two months has me and my Pulmonologists scratching our heads as to what it is that keeps causes my asthma to spiral out of control so often. […]

April 30, 2013 4
bipap machine
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Self Service

Just one of the advantages of being an asthmatic Respiratory Therapist, though the hospital staff might not be so thrilled. They get a little grouchy when the patients start adjusting ventilator settings Now for the serious educational part: The rational for using non -invasive bipap therapy during a severe asthma exacerbations is simply to reduce […]

April 8, 2013 9
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Musical friends hard at work

My friend Don is up for a Juno award next month. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. If you haven’t yet, check out his music 2013 has also been a really busy year for friend and bass mentor Rick Shaw. He just completed an 8 show tour in Japan with the Gordon Goodman’s Big […]

March 27, 2013 2
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3 Good Weeks

For the life of me I can’t figure out why my breathing was so good from those last 2 weeks in January all the way till Feb 3rd. When I say “good” I don’t mean like a return to normal lung function or even a significant decrease in symptoms, but still what I experienced during […]

March 16, 2013 5
Duke
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Duke …aka snuggle bug

When it rains it pours. Our hearts have never been so broken for so long. Why does this keep happening to the ones that bring us so much joy. It’s barely been 4 weeks since Milo’s passing, and now this morning we had to put to asleep yet another one of out beloved cats. His […]

March 14, 2013 5
Daily walk
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Yes, I still walk.

Haven’t trained for or entered any races, or even taken any walks greater than 5 miles in almost 2 years now. However,come rain or shine, crappy breathing or not, I still get out and walk 3 to 4 miles almost every single day. My main motivation for doing so nowadays, is mostly to preserve what […]

February 19, 2013 8
Milo 1994-2013
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Farewell Sweet Angel

The oldest of our 4 cats who shared his live with us for almost 19 years, was given back to god at 10:10 am February 13th,2013 Milo was a proud and fiercely independent little Persian kitty that we adopted from the SF SPCA in 1996 and became a huge part of our family unit. Milo […]

February 14, 2013 5
beach1
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Guest Post by Kerri

It’s a real pleasure to have my good friend and asthma advocacy partner Kerri MacKay here as my first guest poster. Thank you Kerri!   For as long as I can remember, defining moments in my life have had some sort of musical connection to them. To use two very cool album titles in the […]

January 26, 2013 13
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What’s in a number?

I still have a hard time believing it, especially the way Ive been feeling this past year, but during my most recent Pulmonary function test a few weeks ago, I blew an incredible FEV1 of 50%! OK, blowing an FEV1 of only half of normal may not sound like a big deal, but it’s the […]

January 9, 2013 6
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Most frequently asked question

"Can you have an asthma attack with a normal sat reading"?
The answer is..YES!
While it's a little unusual to see a person with a perfect O2 sat of a 100% during a severe exacerbation, its pretty typical to see sats in the 94-97% range. The reason for this, is that asthma is a disease of the airways , not the alveoli where gas exchange takes place. Most asthmatics dont desaturate during the early stages of an attack,unless theres a secondary problem such as pneumonia. You have to be extremely ill with asthma if your sats are low.

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